It was a shiny summer season morning in March and researchers from Mizoram College had been surveying for herpetofaunal (reptiles and amphibians) species in villages not removed from the capital metropolis Aizawl. Although night time fell, they continued their survey and noticed a snake on a boulder in a dried-up space of Tuinghaleng river mattress. Additional detailed research revealed that it was a brand new species of the Stoliczkia genus and solely the third species of Stoliczkia from India.
The group named it Stoliczkia vanhnuailianai, in honour of Vanhnuailiana, a well-known Mizo warrior. He was one of the highly effective chiefs of the Lushai Hills (now Mizoram) through the mid-1800s and led many profitable campaigns in opposition to rival chiefs within the space.
The snake is about 50 cm in size, non-venomous, and has a darkish brown shade above with a couple of dorsal scale rows shiny yellow in color. Although the top scales are uniformly darkish brown it has shiny pinkish sutures.
“Since some family members Xenodermidae exhibit fluorescence beneath ultraviolet gentle, we examined this species beneath a UV gentle, but it surely didn’t exhibit any vital signal of fluorescence. We have no idea if the pink color performed an necessary function as of now,” explains lead writer Samuel Lalronunga, from the Systematics and Toxicology Laboratory, Division of Zoology, Mizoram College. The findings had been revealed at this time in Zootaxa.
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The group gave a typical title, ‘Lushai hills dragon snake’ and within the native Mizo language they recommend or not it’s known as rulphusin, which means ‘snake with small scales’.
The group says this is without doubt one of the most necessary discoveries of this century as a result of the final time its sister species Stoliczkia khasiensis was discovered was greater than a century in the past in 1904.
“S. khasiensis is arguably one of many rarest snakes of India. Our information of this misplaced species was primarily based solely on two historic museum specimens. Whereabouts of S. khasiensis nonetheless stay one of many biggest mysteries from Northeast India. The invention of this new sister species from Mizoram tells us lots about their uniqueness, magnificence and the microhabitat they could occupy,” says Abhijit Das, one of many authors from Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun.
The brand new species is thought solely from a single specimen at a degree locality and additional research are wanted to know its distributional vary, ecological preferences and tolerances. “On the website the place the person was encountered, there may be small-scale agricultural and pisciculture follow by the native communities. Quite a few patches of forests are cleared for shifting cultivation which could possibly be a menace if this species is a narrowly distributed habitat specialist,” provides Dr Lalronunga.